Calgary Comic Expo 2016

Sitting in front of the TV waiting for the latest gossip on wives and Kardashians, you’re wondering what to eat.  The salad you had was a good effort, as you are trying to maintain that figure you had back in high school. However, soon the hunger pains are too much to bear and the Oreo’s come calling.  Every one you have you’re telling yourself, I will walk it off tomorrow.  Unfortunately you forget about last night’s binge and the office Gossip continues like bad episodes of Simon and Simon.  The one thing that never stray’s from your mind are your kids and what they are up too.  If you can’t hear them they are probably up to no good.  After all, when your 17 the last place you want to be is anywhere but home.  Sometimes the PlayStation is not enough to keep you from straying.  Getting out of the house is nothing new, we all did it.  “Be home by 9”.

How many times did you hear “can I stay till 10”. And so the retorts bounce off walls like no one is listening.  He is not going to be home by 9, he is going to spend as much time as possible balancing between right and wrong.  Knowing full well the hammer will fall once he crosses the portico.  Fear not however, for one weekend at least, everyone knows where your kids are.  It’s the “Calgary Comic and Expo”. 

They are down at the stampede grounds in full Halo gear.  Looking like one of his Ice-station characters, he has become drenched in blood soaked t-shirts, autographs and comic books.  Things are good in the world.  I was surprised to see how many people were at this event.  For a moment I thought the stampede had begun early.  Actually, it was just your kids playing the part of Han Solo, parents were getting in on the action too.  Some costumes look like they were made on the drive to the grounds.  Others appeared to have taken months to prepare.  Every conceivable soldier and action hero was on show this weekend.  Some of the more engaged decided on a more deep thought approach.  Such as the zombie murdering sesame street gang, or a Samurai storm trooper.  This imagination is the reason why we are here.  There is no limit to what you can become.  Someone even dressed up as a tree.  As I have a faint recollection of a walking tree in some fantasy show some 10 years ago, I can only assume this one was one of the same.  I spent many hours wondering the stands, keeping an eye out for the next Darth Vader.  Not for a minute was I getting to the point of boredom.  Everyone should take the time to come down and see what people can do.  

Even Marilyn Monroe made a guest appearance. As for you parents.  Dressing up as “Jason” is no excuse, your son is home waiting for supper.

2016 Calgary International Auto & Truck Show

How do you sum up the numbers and come up with the the correct answer, when it comes to mans favorite pastime. Well, for some of us it does include ball bearings.  Not the kind you press into a shotgun casing, but ones used in a wheel hub assembly or a universal joint.  Our love of cars continues, with an all out ensemble of fenders from Ford's to Ferrari's.

OK! so the vast majority now all seem to look the same, from plastic dashboards to headlights, car companies now seem to swap parts with each other and make it seem new and improved. Gone are the days, when you had to push a button to make it work.  It's all storks and sticks. Men love to push and turn buttons. Have you ever seen anything more sexier than a dashboard on a series one E type. Exactly! ...  So we have a few differences from last year, but on the whole nothing has changed.  We see the same cute girls splashing out quip's about perfect weight distribution and turbo lag reduction.  The reality is, they couldn't explain what torque is anymore than I could, or you could for that matter. Maybe It just sounds better coming from a size two "super" model.  I was somewhat impressed with the Ford driving simulator. It was a bit over the top and unnecessary, but the kids enjoyed being Tom Petty for 5 minutes.

Everything here seems to trundle along like we're all stuck in a playground zone.  Every Acura looks the same as every other Acura. Except maybe some have a fatter ass than others.  Things were becoming as interesting as a rented apartment, that was until we got to the Aston Martin - Bentley arena.  There is something about sitting in one of these that makes you feel uberly important.  Yes I have leather seats in my car, but the seats in a Bentley!!! You have just entered a world where few will have the pleasure of the real ultimate driving machine.

It's like sitting in a channel handbag!  The interior is a place that transforms you and instantly turns you into a one percenter.  It's like putting on a Tom Ford.  You feel smarter, you look smarter, suddenly everyone is looking at you.  It's the same with the Aston.  Once inside, clutching that thick carbon laced steering wheel, your whispered off to a place of grandeur.  After many thank you's and hand shaking, we took ourselves to, well. What else, of course.  The house of Mr Balboni's home turf.  Lamborghini.  Yes they were big and brash, but I have to be honest, the Lamborghini's that I grew up with had no windows, just cat flaps with a stick shift.  These were my pin up's.  I somehow can't see myself putting up an Aventador on my wall.  Maybe I'm well past the sell by date on wall posters, but the lambo's of today seem to have lost that bedroom image.  I know they cost more than most second homes and yes they still have those silly doors, but I look back at the Aston and I'm sold every time.  When the brand manager of Rolls Royce invited us in.  We clocked eyes on the Phantom and thought, no;  there is no way we will ever get this close.  Well, as it happens, we did.  Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, as they say, this 20 foot monster steps in. 

Lord in heaven, as a motor car this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  Mercedes and Audi.  You may as well pack up your suitcase right now and head back to fatherland.  OK, so BMW took hold of Britain's most prized possession and welded together the strongest aluminum body in the automotive world, thanks for that at the very least.  After that the Brits took over and did what they do best.  Apart from drinking lots of tea and having to find new Careers since Maggy closed down all the pits.  The Brits still have the talent to put together, what is simply the finest car money can buy.  Options are endless.  So, If you have deep pockets,  this is where you stop looking and place your order.  So to are the Ferrari's. I have to be honest here too,  the Ferrari's of today do look amazing, but they seem to have lost that 60's sex appeal.  Think about it.  There is nothing sexier than a testarossa or a P4/5. I'm not talking about the square place mat you find in Miami vice, I'm dating back to the world when designers used Marilyn Monroe as inspiration, not a Mach 2 jet fighter.   The worlds designers now have moved on to aerospace technology and materials from Mars.  It's seems that that molds used to make the DB5 are now extinct. While I am happy to see companies like Eagle have a bash.  It saddens me that the rest of the world doesn't share the same opinion.  The mood now is cup holders and hockey bags. You just know when your best friend gets married and his wife punches out a couple of kids, the minivan is where your heading.  What a shame that is!  We still have lots of somewhat attractive looking cars out there, but Dodge thought, I know, let's take away his manhood and offer up something so sad, it makes you feel you had a level 10 lobotomy.  Let me put it this way, when I was 9. We had 6 in our family, we got by with a rover P5. "And we had a dog".  We went all over Europe.  Yes we also had cup holders.  

I guess we have one saving grace. I once saw a 12 year old putting her soccer shoes into the back of a drop dead sexy black continental GT.  I agree not everyone can afford one which is a shame but we should have more options available to us.

So, moving on.  There we were, looking at what I call Gods creation.  The absolute best in engineering to date. If allowed we should have been on hands and knees, as we are certainly not worthy of the P1. Some of the worlds best brains got together and produced the finest wine and carbon fiber soufflé man has ever made.  So why did this 12 year old beside me waffle on about the prancing horse and how much better they are.  Why, well cause he is 12 and knows only two things, how to play call of duty at home and how to tell people at school how good he is at call of duty. Oh the joys of having teenagers! They know everything.  So. People of Fiat, Acura and Honda.  When you next decide to design a car, think of Dita Von Tess, not a dinner plate.  I know which one can go through the air faster, but I know what I would rather look at.

Heath Cox.  Editor  intouch.NEWS


Pastry Chef Showcase 2016

Sunday evening,

The time, where you cozy up upon your lazy boy, grab the switchy box and settle into a night loitering between and Netflix, Crackle and You-tube.  As you ditched your cable, the up and down buttons on your remote have become pretty much obsolete.  Now you’re fondling genre’s like it’s 1979. 

 As of this moment, people across this province are calculating their losses and uploading Skidoos on Kijiji.

So were on a downturn, as you still have enough for Spotify and a parking spot.  You are one of the lucky ones so far.  Not to worry, we have all seen this before, so when the Economy tanks, which it has, there is only one way for it to go now.  So be patient.  Once all the big guns have let everyone go, they will be bringing them back and we all will bask in wakesetters again. 

So Google just sent you a little note telling you to put your slippers away, grab your trilby and head on over to Heritage park for the Pastry Chef Showcase 2016.  Time to put your culinary gear into 1st and prep your palette with the finest breads and pastries’ on offer. 

Some of Canada’s best will be on the culinary dance floor, doing the tango with butter knives and cookie slicers to create art in real life.  This is what dreams are made of.  The wine and cheese displays were plentiful, so tuck in, but leave room for the creations coming to life before you. 

To Start with we have the Ranchman’s club served up a delicate Apple caramel tower, a sautéed apple with an orange mascarpone filling, garnished with an apple mousse and a toffee Gelee spoon.

The second dish on the list was an upside down pineapple cake drizzled in olive oil, coupled with a honey yogurt mousse and served with Rosemary guava gelato.  It was delicious. 

Of course there had to be a winner.  This was created by Melissa Burt, Rebbekka Lenz, Elynne Poisson and Peter Nowicki.  Together they enveloped the Mayor Lemon vanilla bean mousse, a basil sponge on top of Streusel cookie.

Hotel arts offered up a milk chocolate mousse, which was to die for.  As for the number of plates 300 was not enough for the 45 minute event.

The winners enjoyed a $1500 win to share amongst themselves. 

All this for the benefit for our friends with developmental disabilities.  Thank you L’Arche Calgary, for putting together this wonderful event.  I thought I was quite happy with my slippers and 46 flat screen.  Next time, I will bring friends.  Thank you to Heritage Park for the venue and a big thank you to all the sponsors.  In the middle of this downturn, it’s nice to see sponsorships still willing to lend an offer of support. 


Heath Cox Editor InTouch.NEWS

50th Annual World of Wheels

Passion: Some regard this as what Karl Benz invented when he first decided that it was time to ditch the horse and cart and go for a new method of transport.  Yes, the steam engine was an amazing achievement, but it proved to be too cumbersome and impractical.  The people that mattered best decided that they continue their lives on trains and ships.  The triple expansion was no match for what is now mans “greatest invention”.                                  

Born unto us, or rather created, the hallowed internal combustion engine .  I’m sure when Karl was writing out his patent forms; he would have never envisioned what he would be letting himself in for.  Take some kerosene, some air, put it under pressure and there you have it.  Now there have been many variations since his idea took hold.  Everything from the 2 stroke to the Wankel.  When you think about it, this little idea sparked such a revolution that is so strong today; we just can’t comprehend the amplitude of it.  NASCAR, Formula one, monster trucks, drag racing, Le Mans, hyper cars, minicabs, group B Racing, Police interceptor movies, and the list is endless.  They all have one thing in common.  Mans need to fill the void between marriage and a new engine hoist.  It is an interesting time we live in as the world is changing.  We are now being faced with Electric cars, hybrids, gas power, solar, even wind.  Mr. Fusion may not be that far off.  Thing is though, no self-respecting petrol head will ~McQueen down Hollywood boulevard in an Electric Datsun. 

There is something about the internal combustion engine that draws crowds in their thousands.  Club rallies, car collectors and Concours d'Elegance.  They all love cars, they all love the point where you push that magic little red button and listen to the cylinders comes to life.  I don’t think those at Pebble beach would be waking up at dawn to see an array of finely polished Priuses.  Millions upon millions of us take for granted what Karl has done for us.  Yet we are now mining Lithium to change the world.  I’m sorry, but when you’re taking resources from the earth by the tonnes to save the planet, well you’re not really, you’re just changing the basic dynamics of how were going to get from A to B.  As long as there is a market for the V8 Mustang or a V10 R8.  We will continue to go there.  Power and speed is what drives us.  Yes you can honk at the maniac in front of you that is doing a hundred and twenty miles an hour.  But we all know it’s what we want in our lives. 

Calgary’s 2016 World of Wheels is testament to all things’ that pray “suck squeeze bang blow”.  The fire breathing dragons on display here are a testament to those who have spent countless hours scraping, sanding, tuning, grinding and polishing.  Ah yes, the meat of a man’s heart.  The Restoration; Ask a man to do laundry, he will look at you like you just grown a wart out of your forehead.  The same question, but in auto-mechanical form, well, and then you have it.  Man’s love of all things aluminum, cast iron and leather cannot be tarnished by the thought of home economics.

Standing over at the Ford stand, I was introduced to a carbon copy of the infamous 427 Cobra.  The designer the late Mr Shelby insane's need for speed brought UK’s motorways to its knees.

 Bureaucrats and lobbyists were having none of this on their roads.  No…No…No.  Thus the 70-MPH speed limit was born.  Big thank you to the gentlemen who allowed me over the rail and let my lens do the talking, also a big thank you to Mr. Shelley.  I should have asked for his last name.  He was kind enough to allow me entry and let my brain compute at all the work that went on to making this show a success that it has become.

You know, I love the sound of an XJ singing at 5000 rpm.  Who doesn’t?  It brings us all together, it creates smiles and people love that.  Look at the crowd.  They all took their Ford’s and Chevy’s to look at other Fords and Chevy’s.  Ask anyone here if they would like to own and drive a 68 Charger or a 38 Ford.  Of course!

I hope the internal combustion engine is here to stay for my life time, my kids and their kids.  Because when the world changes back to steam, the passion will have gone.


Heath, Editor InTouch. NEWS


The Calgary Boat and Sportsmen's Show

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When Captain Kirk used his thrusters to slingshot around the sun to save a couple of whales, I would have hoped he had the time to go to the San Francisco Marina District.  He would of course wander at the boats in the harbour and marvel at how people in the 20th Century were able to build such lovely craft. Of course he would have been depressed by his big eared colleague as he would think this may not be logical.  Time warp 30 odd years, forward. Tiberius and his trusty crew would now be long gone in their retirement and we would be back in the now 21st Century, wondering how to make Transparent Aluminum.  Knowing that by then they would have figured out how to trade goods without money, I am left wondering what point in our timeline does this stop and we all work for the collective good.  Sounds like futuristic communism.

So as we stand now, if you want a nice piece of cod, all you need to do is pop down to your local Save On and wait in line at the automated checkout.   Go back home and throw it on the grill.  Job done.  It cost you pennies.

However, there is another way.  Your first employment here is to advise your better half that your joint account will be dragged down by huge monthly payments in order to furnish man’s ability to beat his chest again.  The hunter gatherer is back.  Courtesy of companies, like Lund or Bass Pro Shops.  So you decide that yes, you would like to go hunt some smelly gills yourself.  The sales crew working overtime in there Wranglers and silly boots are just ringing tills and filling out forms to the Glamper’s and red necks who blindly thought that this is a good idea.  So let me think about this, I can buy a piece for myself and cook it.  Or I can go to the nearest Original Joes and order up a fish and chips bowl for about $20.

Or, …….  I can visit a number of lakes and seas and get my own.  First you need a fishing rod and reels and string and floatie bits and boxes and worms and knives and learn the know-how on figuring out how to put this all together.  Oh,  You could just walk down to the dock, but people will shout at you, so you need a boat.  Not just any boat, you need a proper one, with funny seats and spare coats and fish finders with outdoor props and more outdoor props.  Well, a baby one that looks like something international rescue would use if you found yourself upside down.  All the gear you just bought is now running into the hundreds.  With the addition of the boat and all its Christmas trimmings, Savings and loan companies are now working overtime to make sure you can afford the interest payments.  Oh wait, its getting better.  All these things are heavy, so you need something to carry them all in.  Seeing as you just can’t carry a 21 foot boat on your back, you need a transportation transfer device.  Of Course I am now talking about a truck.  Yes sure you could borrow your friends.  That would be “once” .   After that, you need to hook up with your local Ford dealer and add another F150 to the roads.  I know you have a minivan to tow your kids about, but no one pulls a boat with one.  That’s just wrong.   So, you have your kit, your boat, something to tow it in and were set.  Not really.  Now after spending 11 million on your unused toys, you’re still no closer in convincing fish to jump out at you.  Now you need a license.  If you’re on a lake in the middle of well, nowhere, you will probably have to throw it back.  There are rules you know.  So the best thing to do is take your new fangled gear to sea.  Then you can marvel at the endless lists of things you can play with.  Of course, if you want to sail beyond the Juan de Fuca straight, and play Captain Bird's eye, you need to stop off at the nearest Marine Dollar store and have everything converted to sea water.  After many many many more peso's, you have to now buy a sea license.  This idea of just buying local is getting more appealing.  Spock would simply say,  “This isn’t logical Jim”.


It just isn’t.

Heath Cox - Editor Intouch.NEWS

The Motorcycle Show Calgary

Tim DuBois sat down one day and wrote a song that Jerry Reed took on and it became a huge hit for the now deceased superstar.  Personally I liked most of Jerry’s songs, and as an actor I thought he was a natural.  The song that Tim wrote was called “She got the Goldmine (I got the shaft)”, which is basically what happens to you when you get a divorce and your wife takes everything.  Poor Jerry got the shaft.  Living on food stamps, he was then jailed for contempt of court.  Oh how the mighty fall.  

1000 miles north of Jerry’s hometown of Atlanta sits Springfield Massachusetts.  Back in 1897 a couple of fellas named George M. Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom had a few beers and decided to make a motorcycle.  I guess they figured they could do better than everyone else back then so after some hits and misses they came up with the Dare Devil, had a few arguments, as you do, then one thing led to another Indian took hold of the American way of life.  

That was until Hitler came along.  Mr. Mein Camp saw it fit to the rid the world of pretty much everyone, but the Brits, Canadians and Americans, (along with most everyone else) decided it would be best if they make a lot of planes and tanks and send him packing.  So there was Indian making bikes for the government and when the war ended, Indian had built all these bikes that no one higher than a ranking senate wanted.  Jerry’s words seemed to ring true for the DuPont family.  It also didn't help that the Harley's at the time were bit more powerful.  So Indian got the shaft and by 1953 all the punch clocks in the Springfield factory started a new job title.  collecting dust.  

A few years go by and the general public were now more interested in what the Japanese were doing. Introduced at the TT races in the 50's, the Brits and Italians on their Norton's and MV Augusta's laughed at them.  By the 60's however, Honda, flashed their high beams and passed them by and have never looked back.  Both Honda and Yamaha along with Kawasaki and Suzuki, bounced the winning Tourist trophy back and forth for many years to come.  The Brits were no longer laughing.

Now, onto  Harley's .  When William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson got together, they created a brand so popular, the whole world not only knew who they were.  To say they have a cult following is putting it as mildly as ketchup on Freedom fries.  How many people work in appliance sales do you know with Maytag tattooed on their arm.  I didn’t think so.  Now Harley's are noted for being loud, slow, unreliable and the brakes so poor, you need to fit anchors and and a prayer book.  However, they once held the world speed record for a whopping 16 years blistering past the stop clock at a Flux capacitor braking 322.15 mph.  For those of us in Moose county or Finland,  that’s 518.45 km/h.  Try that on your Ninja or Super dream.  

The best part of this show wasn't the bikes or the stands.  Some of which are selling property in heckifiknow BC, (not sure what that has to do with bikes but anyway), no, the best thing was the people. Without us people there would be no coat check, (Thank you Honda) no Insurance agents selling you Insurance you already have and no pretty white fondue hair styled models trying to win your heart and minds with Italians version of there dream machines. The Ducatti

They’re people are from all walks of life.  Sure their were big Harley bikers with leather vests and ass-less chaps and chains hanging from there bellied waists.  To this 15 year old kid whose dreams of dirt biking trails and hitting 80 feet verticals in sponsored leathers and Oakley wraparounds.  Scaring parents is a given. 

Ladies of every age were clambering on big Triumphs, saying, "well if my husband can do this, I can too". 

47 year old newlyweds were walking side by side with there new online wives, dreaming of what life was like when they were still invincible.  Hopping on board Ninja's thinking, I still have what it takes.  But that paunch that sags over their 38 +inch waist is telling them otherwise.  

The RCMP , the sheriff and the Calgary Police were also on hand, not to assist in a texting take-down, but to show the paying public that they too “Live to Ride”.  Staff Sargent Paul Stacey a 27 year member of the Calgary Police force was also on hand.  We chatted for about 20 minutes remembering old faces and times when we didn’t require glasses.  This fellow has seen more collisions and fatalities than we care too, yet with a welcoming smile and fondness for his trusty Harley, he was more to happy to converse with us.

I don’t see this man hanging up his spurs just yet. Just remember, he may be a pleasant man to chat with, but cross his path and your going to be getting a yellow page out of his book.

Their were Helmet stands, with lids of every size and colour you could imagine.  Girls young and old, flirted with open face helmets, as they dream of summer.  Wait for it.  Here it comes ..., -- cut to slo mo.  the ever so sexy,  the long awaited. Hair flick.   With bright red lipstick and come to bed eyes, these girls know the routine.  Us Of the lessor species, melt like molten s'mores.  This is the sole reason why bikers love girls.   

If a standard run of the mill R3 wasn’t your cup of Joe, then look for Lucid Kustoms or precision frameworx, they can take your hard earned wad and create something just for you.  From a ground up custom billet Aluminum hard tailed roller coaster, to a 70’s style café racer, it was all at the Motorcycle show.  

Polaris even strutted their stuff with a Slingshot - a three-wheeled motorcycle that looks like it was made for moon landings and not cruising the streets of 17th ave.   Not sure what the attraction is,  but I have a sense that Batman would be driving this if his tumbler was in the shop.  

When the jumping showcase event began, we lumbered past an old Kawasaki.  All I could think of when I saw this old beast was going back in time to the late 70’s when Erik Estrada and The other guy came to life on Sunday night. For 6 seasons they showed us what life was like on the California highways.  Growing up in the UK, my brothers and I, Kick started our imagination, and began to serve and protect our street.  That was until mom called us in for supper. OK So I didn’t see the C Series bikes, but the memories were still there.

Did I mention Batman.  His Tumbler MUST have been in the shop Polaris made one for him too.

Many thanks to Indian for taking the time to chat, and to everyone else who did a marvelous job setting up a great show.  I hope the bikes that leave the showroom this weekend will bring many fond memories and for those of you who like to ride like Barry Sheene, Staff Sargent Paul Stacey and his fellow brothers will be watching.

Ride safe everyone.   Bring on the summer. 

Heath Cox - Editor InTouch.NEWS